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How to grow a technology business…

by Lynne Campbell | Posted in Employee Ownership | 12 February 2015

…CAS celebrates one year as an employee owned business

With 84% of Scottish Technology businesses predicting an increase in sales in the next 12 months and 75% of them looking to increase their workforce, the Scottish Tech sector is booming (Scottish Technology Industry Survey 2014).

Asked what they felt would have the greatest impact on their business for the year ahead, survey respondents highlighted retention of staff as key, with recruitment being a major constraint to growth. One year into Employee Ownership, CAS* believes this is a business model that helps to address these issues.

CAS made the move to employee ownership in January 2014. With the support of Co-operative Development Scotland, part of Scottish Enterprise, we arrived at a structure that gave us a strong and stable platform for future growth. Our CEO Ken Naismith explains:

“59% of the business is in broad employee ownership by trust and shareholding; the Chairman and I invested in the remainder of the business. I plan to reduce my shareholding over time to release more ownership for employees. So far the results have been positive, and the future looks very bright indeed”.

One of the impacts of a more fulfilled and engaged workforce is greater innovation, another is high staff retention. And share ownership is an attractive recruitment incentive too. Employee ownership has allowed our people to not only own a piece of our business, but to really impact upon business decisions - after all front line staff know what clients really need.

“CAS is not driven by the need to produce financial returns for external shareholders.” Business Analyst Team Manager and current elected Employee Benefit Trust director, Simon Harbisher comments, “Any profits produced by the business go back into the business.  We can invest in staff training and product development.”

There are currently 34 employee owned firms head quartered in Scotland. We are proud to be one of them and we look forward to seeing that number grow, and the Technology sector with it.

*Computer Application Services Ltd (CAS) develop and support their market leading Workpro case management and complaints handling software product by from their offices in Edinburgh. Founded in 1969, CAS is still independent and now employee owned. As an SME CAS is able to foster close, flexible working relationships with its customers. CAS supply bespoke application development, software support and IT consultancy to public and private sector organisations throughout Europe. 

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